Mother of 8-year-old shot during baby shower speaks out

WGN Exclusive

CHICAGO — The mother of an 8-year-old boy shot at a baby shower in West Englewood on Saturday spoke to WGN as her son continues to recover at the hospital.

Mekhi McGruder, the 8-year-old that was shot while at the baby shower was doing much better at Comer Children’s Hospital as of Wednesday. His mother, Miranda Randle-McGruder, said he still has a long road to recovery but he’s no longer in critical condition and he’s being moved from the pediatric ICU to a regular room.

His parents broke their silence on Wednesday because they wanted to get a few things straight about what happened the night of the shooting.

People were gathered outside a house near 63rd and Seeley around 6:30 p.m. Saturday when witnesses say a red Chevy Equinox drove down 64th street, and someone inside shot at the group.

The 8-year-old was shot in the chest, and a 10-year-old girl was wounded in the shin. A 29-year-old woman was shot in the shoulder and chest, and three other adults ranging in age from 23 to 42 were also shot.

Wednesday was the first time Randle-McGruder left her son’s side since the shooting.

“The first day they were saying it was touch and go, second day they were like, ‘We’re going to take the tube out,’ third day he’s sitting up, today he was just playing a video game,” she said.

Mekhi and his mother were attending a cousin’s baby shower. Randle-McGruder was the first to get to her son after he was shot. She said she knew she needed to remain calm and tend to her son.

“When I got to my baby outside, he was still awake, he was still alert, he never passed out, he never needed CPR, I picked my son up myself and I carried him to the ambulance,” she said. “In the back of the ambulance the fire department said his lungs collapsed and they did everything they could, they were working with him.”

Her husband, Craig McGruder, who works in the medical field as a nurse assistant at the University of Chicago Medical Center credited his wife for saving their son’s life.

“She never panicked, she reassured him that everything was going to be OK, she applied pressure to both wounds, front and back and that alleviated the blood coming out,” he said.

In the days since the shooting, the McGruders said there has been a lot of misinformation about what happened and who knew what, so they wanted to set the record straight, including accusations from the police that the family was not cooperating.

“How can we cooperate? We don’t know anything,” she said. “I told the detectives everything I knew. I did give the names of some people who I knew knew something and those people did talk with those detectives and told them that it was a red truck that pulled up and started shooting.”

She also said the young men who were shot, were not at the baby shower.

“Twenty kids were out front playing and they ran towards those kids from the corner, they were not at the baby shower,” she said. “They just happened to run up on the porch when the shooting happened.”

The family is from the suburbs and left Englewood due to the crime. Randle-McGruder said she told Mekhi she will never bring him to the city so he doesn’t have to worry.

The 10-year-old girl who was hit in the shin was doing better according to Randle-McGruder and went back home. The 28-year-old also went home from the hospital.

The conditions of the other two young men is unknown.

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